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1669-1671.–George Fox sails for Ireland in company with several other Friends
he there sends a challenge to the Popish priests to try their God, which is not accepted-he contrasts them with Baal's priests--the authorities of Cork threaten him, and issue warrants for his apprehension-he rides publicly through the city, and is seen by the mayor but not inolested-writes to Friends in the ministry there-discourses with professors on election and reprobation-returns to England
-a report is spread that George Fox is turned Presbyterian, through a trick to obtain a congregation for John Fox, the Presbyterian, which however turns to the advantage of Friends - George Fox is married to Margaret Fell at Bristol-writes to the quarterly meetings about putting children apprentices-Margarct Fox is cast into prison-two of her daughters go to the king, and obtain a promise of their mother's liberty-on the passing of the Conventicle Act, George Fox writes a declaration against seditious conventicles-writes to Friends to strengthen them in their trials-is apprehended at a meeting at Gracechurch Street-taken before the mayor, who discourses with him and sets him at liberty-visits Friends in Reading jail-undergoes great travail of spirit, loses his sight and hearing, and becomes as a sign-persecution becoming hot, some meeting-houses are pulled down, and Friends are much abused-George Fox endures great mental conflictthe faithfulness of Friends is said by some professors to have preserved the nation from debauchery-George Fox writes an encouraging letter to Friends-as persecution abates he recovers-writes a warning to the rulers of the nation--recommends certain regulations respecting marriage-writes a prayer.
Now was I moved of the Lord to go over into IRELAND, to visit the seed of God in that nation. There went with me Robert Lodge, James Lancaster, Thomas Briggs, and John Stubbs. We waited near Liverpool for shipping and wind. After waiting some days, we sent James Lancaster to take passage, which he did, and brought word the ship was ready, and would take us in at Black Rock. We went thither on foot; and it being some distance, and the weather very hot, I was much spent with walking. When we arrived, the ship was not there; so we were obliged to go to the town, and take shipping. When we were on board, I said to the rest of my company, “Come, ye will triumph in the Lord, for we shall have fair wind and weather.” Many passengers in the ship were sick, but not one of our company. The captain and many of the passengers were very loving; and we being at sea on the first day of the week, I was moved to declare truth among them; whereupon the captain said to the passengers, “Here are things that you never heard in your lives.” When we came before DUBLIN, we took boat and went ashore; and the earth and air smelt, mcthought, of the corruption of the nation, so that it yielded another smell to me than England did; which I imputed to the Popish massacres that had been committed, and the blood that had been spilt in it, from which a foul. ness ascended. We passed through among the officers of the custom four times, yet they did not search us; for they perceived what we were : some of them were so envious they did not care to look at us. We did not soon find Friends; but went to an inn, and sent out to inquire for some; who
when they came to us were exceedingly glad of our coming, and received us with great joy. We stayed there the weekly meeting, which was a large one, and the power and life of God appeared greatly in it. Afterwards we passed to a province meeting, which lasted two days, there being one about the poor, and another meeting more general; in which a mighty power of the Lord appeared. Truth was livingly declared, and Friends were much refreshed therein.
Passing thience about four and twenty miles, we came to another place, where we had a very good refreshing meeting; but after it, some Papists that were there were angry, and raged very much. When I heard of it, I sent for one of them, who was a schoolmaster; but he would not come. Whereupon I sent a challenge to him, with all the friars and monks, priests and Jesuits, to come forth, and “try their God and their Christ, which they had made of bread and wine," but no answer could I get from them. Wherefore I told them, “ they were worse than the priests of Baal; for Baal's priests tried their wooden god, but these durst not try their god of bread and wine; and Baal's priests and people did not eat their god as these did, and then make another."
We went to New GARDEN, where there was a great meeting. Thence we travelled on among Friends, till we came to BANDON BRIDGE and the Land's End, having many meetings as we went, in which the mighty power of the Lord was manifested, Friends were well refreshed, and many people were affected with the truth. At Bandon, the mayor's wife being herself convinced, desired her husband to come to the meeting; but he bid her, for her life, not to make known that I was at a meeting there.
. He that was then mayor of CORK was very envious against truth and Friends, and had many Friends in prison; and knowing that I was in the country, he had issued four warrants to take me; wherefore Friends were desirous that I might not ride through Cork. But being at Bandon, there appeared to me, in a vision, "a very ugly visaged man, of a black and dark look : my spirit struck at him in the power of God; and it seemed to me, that I rode over him with my horse, and my horse set his foot on the side of his face.” When I came down in the morning, I told a friend that was with me, that the command of the Lord was to me to ride through Cork; but bid him tell no man. So we took horse, many Friends being with me; and when we came near the town, they would have showed me a way on the backside of the town; but I told them, my way was through the streets. Wherefore taking one of them along with me, whose name was Paul Morrice, to guide me through the town, I rode on; and as we rode through the market-place, and by the mayor's door, he seeing me ride by, said, " there goes George Fox;" but he had not power to stop me. When we had passed through the sentinels, and were come over the bridge, we went to a Friend's house and alighted. There the Friends told me what a rage was in the town, and how many warrants were granted to take me. While I was sitting there with Friends, I felt the evil spirit at work in the town, stirring up mischief against me; and I felt the power of the Lord strike at that evil spirit. By and by some other Friends coming in, told me, that it was over the town, and amongst the magistrates, that I was in the
town. I said, “let the devil do his worst.” After a while, that Friends were refreshed one in another, and we travellers had refreshed ourselves, Į called for my horse, and having a Friend to guide me, we went on our way. But great was the rage, that the mayor and others of Cork were in, that they had missed me; and great pains they afterwards took to take me; having their scouts abroad upon the roads, as I understood, to observe which way I went. Afterwards there was scarcely a public meeting I came to, but spies came to watch if I were there. And the envious magistrates and priests sent informations one to another concerning me, describing me by my hair, hat, clothes, and horse, so that when I was near a hundred miles from Cork, they had an account concerning me, and description of me, before I came amongst them. One very envious magistrate, who was both a priest and a justice, got a warrant from the judge of the assize to apprehend me; which warrant was to go over all his circuit, which reached near a hundred miles. Yet the Lord disappointed all their counsels, and defeated all their designs against me; by his good hand of Providence preserved me out of all their snares, and gave us many sweet and blessed opportunities to visit Friends, and spread truth through that nation. For meetings were very large, Friends coming to them far and near; and other people flocking in. The powerful presence of the Lord was preciously felt with and amongst us; whereby many of the world were reached, convinced, and gathered to the truth; the Lord's flock was increased, and Friends were greatly refreshed and comforted in feeling the love of God. O, the brokenness that was amongst them in the flowings of life! So that, in the power and Spirit of the Lord, many together broke out into singing, even with audible voices, making melody in their hearts.
At which time I was moved to declare to Friends in the ministry, as follows:
“SOUND, sound abroad, ye faithful servants of the Lord, and witnesses in his name, ye prophets of the Highest, and angels of the Lord! Sound ye all abroad in the world, to the awakening and raising of the dead, that they may be awakened, and raised up out of the grave, to hear the voice that is living. For the dead have long heard the dead, the blind have long wandered among the blind, and the deaf amongst the deaf. Therefore sound, ye servants, prophets, and angels of the Lord, ye trumpets of the Lord, that you may awaken the dead, and them that are asleep in their graves of sin, death and hell, sea and earth, and who lie in the tombs. Sound abroad, ye trumpets, and raise up the dead, that they may hear the voice of the Son of God, of the second Adam that never fell; the voice of the Light and of the Life; the voice of the Power, and the voice of the Truth; the voice of the Righteous, and of the Just. Sound ye the trum. pets, the melodious sound abroad, that all the deaf ears may be opened to hear the pleasant sound of the trumpet to judgment and life, to condemnation and light. Sound your trumpets all abroad, ye angels of the Lord, sons and daughters, prophets of the Highest, that all who are dead and asleep in the graves—who have been long dreaming and slumbering, may be awakened, and hear the voice of the Lamb ;—that all who have long heard the voice of the beast, may now hear the voice of the Bridegroom
and of the Bride ;-—that they may now hear the voice of the great Prophet and King—the Shepherd aud Bishop of their souls. Sound, sound it all abroad, ye trumpets, among the dead in Adam; for Christ is come, the second Adam, that they might have life, yea have it abundantly. Awaken the dead, awaken the slumberers, the dreamers, them that are asleep, awaken them out of their graves, out of their tombs, out of their sepulchres, out of the seas! Sound abroad, ye trumpets that awaken the dead, that they may all hear the sound of it in the graves, and they that hear may live, and come to the Life, that is, the Son of God. He is risen from the dead; the grave could not hold nor contain him, neither could all the watchers of the earth, with all their guards, keep him therein. Sound, ye trumpets of the Lord, to all the seekers of the living among the dead, that he is risen from the dead; to all the seekers of the living among the dead, and in the graves that the watchers keep; he is not in the grave, le is risen; there is that under the grave of the watchers of the outward grave, which must be awakened and come to hear His voice, who is risen from the dead, that they may come to live. Therefore sound abroad, ye trumpets of the Lord, that the grave may give up her dead, and hell and the sea give up their dead; that all may come forth to judgment, to the judg. ment of the Lord before his throne, and have their sentence and reward according to their works.”
To James Hutchinson’s in Ireland came many great persons, desiring to discourse with me about election and reprobation. I told them, “though they judged our principle foolish, it was too high for them, they could not with their wisdom comprehend it; therefore I would discourse with them according to their capacities. You say (said I), that God hath ordained the greatest part of men for hell, and that they were ordained so before the world began; for which your proof is in Jude. You say Esau was reprobated, and the Egyptians, and the stock of Ham. But Christ saith to his disciples, Go, teach all nations,' and go into all nations and preach the gospel of life and salvation. Now, if they were to go to all nations, were they not to go to Ham's stock and Esau's stock? Did not Christ die for all ? then for the stock of Ham, of Esau, and the Egyptians. Doth not the Scripture say, 'God would have all men to be saved ? Mark, all men, then the stock of Esau and of Ham also. Doth not God say, 'Egypt, my people ?' and that he would have an altar in Egypt? Isa. xix. Were thcre not many Christians formerly in Egypt? And doth not history say, that the Bishop of Alexandria would formerly have been Pope? And had not God a church in Babylon ? I confess, “the word came to Jacob, and the statutes to Israel; the like was not to other nations. For the law of God was given to Israel; but the gospel was to be preached to all nations, and is to be preached. The gospel of peace and glad tidings to all nations, 'he that believes, is saved ; but he that doth not believe, is condemned already ;' so the condemnation comes through unbelief. And whereas Jude speaks of some, that were of old ordained (or written of before) to condemnation, he doth not say, before the world began; but, “written of old;' which may be referred to Moses's writings, who wrote of those whom Jude mentions, namely, Cain, Korah, Balaam, and the angels that kept not their first estate. And such Christians as followed them in their way, and apostatized from the first state of Christianity, were and are ordained for condemnation by the light and truth, which they are gone from. And though the apostle speaks of God's loving Jacob and hating Esau; yet ho tells the believers, 'we all were by nature children of wrath as well as others.' This includes the stock of Jacob, of which the apostle himself and all believing Jews were. Thus both Jews and Gentiles were all concluded under sin, and so under condemnation, that God might have mercy upon all, through Jesus Christ. The election and choice stands in Christ; and 'he that believes, is saved ; and he that believes not, is condemned alrcady.' Jacob typifies the second birth, which God loved; and both Jews and Gentiles must be born again, before they can enter the kingdom of God. When you are born again, ye will know election and reprobation; for the election stands in Christ, the Seed, before the world began; but the reprobation lies in the evil seed, since the world began.” After this manner, but somewhat more largely, I discoursed with those great persons on this matter, and they confessed they had never heard so much before.
After I had travelled over Ireland, and had visited Friends in their meetings, as well for business as for worship, and had answered several papers and writings from monks, friars, and Protestant priests (for they all were in a rage against us, and endeavoured to stop the work of the Lord; and some Jesuits swore in the hearing of some of us, that we came to spread our principles in that nation, but we should not do it), I returned to DUBLIN to take passage for England. When I had stayed the First. day meeting there (which was very large and precious), a ship being ready and the wind serving, we took our leave of Friends, parting in much tenderness and brokenness, in the sense of the heavenly life and power, manifested amongst us. So having put our horses and necessaries on board in the morning, we went ourselves in the afternoon, many Friends accompanying us to the ship; and divers, both Friends and friendly people, came after us in boats when we were near a league at sea, their love drawing them, though not without danger. A good, weighty, and true people there is in that nation, sensible of the power of the Lord God and tender of his truth; and very good order they have in their meetings, for they stand up for righteousness and holiness, which dams up the way of wickedness. A precious visitation they had, and there is an excellent spirit in them, worthy to be visited. Many things more I could write of that nation, and of my travels in it, which would be large to mention particularly; but this I have thought good to signify, that the righteous may rejoice in the prosperity of truth.
James Lancaster, Robert Lodge, and Thomas Briggs came back with me; John Stubbs having further service there, stayed behind. We were two nights at sea; in one of which a mighty storm arose, that put the vessel in great danger. But I saw the power of God went over the winds and storms; he had them in his hand, and his power bound them. And the same power of the Lord God which carried us over, brought us back